Different Than I Expected. Past Review

By (Fashion Merchandising., New Mexico State University) for

BridgeAbroad: Buenos Aires - Intensive Spanish Language

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
My study abroad experience was worthwhile. It was challenging living in a new city by myself and not knowing anyone. I had to reach out and intentionally look for things to do, places to practice Spanish, and people to meet. It was difficult but so rewarding and so worth it. I've improved my Spanish skills and would like to move to another Spanish-speaking country eventually to learn more off of this foundation I've built here in Buenos Aires.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 1 month - 6 months

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

I enjoyed studying with BridgeAbroad in Argentina because the classes were very small. I learned a lot given that I had to communicate only in Spanish. The teachers were kind, the homework was easy, and the material was good. I was a little disappointed in some of the teachers. Only some were good at seeing what level of Spanish I was at and only some were good at pushing me to learn beyond my level. However, there were other teachers that didn't seem as prepared, simply taught by the book and not by my level or need in Spanish, and read over rather than drilled the material so that it was easily forgotten. Overall, my experience was good even though the quality of teaching from some, not all, of the teachers was below my expectations for an "intensive language program". I learned much more in BridgeArgentina than I have in my Spanish classes in the United States. All the material that I studied in my Spanish classes in the United States was extremely helpful and beneficial, but the one-on-one lessons and practical application of the language in and outside of class helped improve my Spanish better than it could have improved in my university in the U.S.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Overall the program was good. There weren't a lot of students, so there was no sense of community and very little activities done at the school. I had class for only four hours of the day and was left to find something to do and somewhere to practice Spanish for the rest of the day. I expected more students, more of a community to learn Spanish with, and a better way of exploring a new city and country. I had a few favorite teachers in the program while some of the other's weren't as good as teaching a second language. There were some weeks where I effectively progressed my Spanish skills and some weeks where they were barely challenged. The administration and staff was always helpful. They did whatever I needed, were there to help if there were problems, made phone calls and inquiries to local places for information, and were always available. The school is located in a great location and was central to all of the action, the teachers made great recommendations as to what to see or where to travel in the city, and all my questions about the country or what I would need help on were answered. All of my expectations except having very few classmates, little activities or community within the school, and some unhelpful teachers were met.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

My housing was all arranged by my school as well as the transportation to my host family. The neighborhood was safe until late at night, I was located near a busy street, but I had access to everything I needed (subways, grocery stores, main streets, cafes, etc). I didn't need to buy any items with my host family - everything was provided and if I needed anything, I was always told to ask for whatever it was I needed. My host family was very welcoming. They were home mostly during dinner and there wasn't much interaction other than at those meal times. They were kind, were helpful, and were very accommodating to stay with during my trip.

* Food:

Only two meals were provided with my host family, breakfast and dinner. The dinners were incredible with plenty of food to eat and a variety of food each night. Some mornings and every lunch I needed to buy my food near my school, but there were plenty of restaurants to buy food from and the cost of food was very cheap compared to buying food in restaurants in the U.S.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

My program arranged field trips but there weren't many students to go on them with. There are many things to do in Buenos Aires, however. There are tango shows, a lot of tourist locations, many historical sites, free walking tours, bike tours, options to leave the city and travel to other parts of Argentina, and many shops and cafes. The night life is always going, so there is always something to do or somewhere to go in Buenos Aires.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

The safety was overall good. It wasn't recommended to walk outside past 10 in the night time and it was always stressed to make sure you're watching your purses, backpacks, phones, or wallets. I was pick pocketed in the subway, which is very common in South America. I wasn't threatened or endangered in any way though. Buenos Aires isn't a place to be afraid of, but it's a place to be very cautious and smart in.

If you could do it all over again would you choose the same program? Yes


* Money: How easily were you able to live on a student's budget?

(1 = not very easy/$200+ on food & personal expenses/week, 2.5 = $100/week, 5 = very easily/minimal cost)

Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? I spent more than I expected on food since I had to buy two meals a day. I also didn't anticipate there to be so many opportunities to travel around the country or leave the city, so I wasn't as financially prepared to really tour the country.


* Did your program have a foreign language component? Yes
Language acquisition improvement?

I practiced the language everyday in class with my professors and with my host family during dinner. The language was necessary in everyday interactions such as going to restaurants, taxing a taxi, or shopping in the markets. A lot of people spoke English in the country, so it was simple to get by with my level of Spanish. There aren't a lot of students in BridgeArgentina, so I had to look for other outlets to practice my Spanish with such as Spanish/English programs, dancing lessons, or meeting people in coffee shops. The classes were a good foundation to learning Spanish, but you need to seek opportunities outside of the class to speak Spanish or else you won't maintain the language or learn it in the practical sense.

If applicable, to what degree did your living situation aid your language acquisition?

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • The private classes
  • The location in Buenos Aires
  • My host family experience
* What could be improved?
  • More students to build a community aspect in the program
  • A push and desire to promote more after school activities to their students to better their experience
  • A better selection of teachers and their effectiveness in teaching a language
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I think students should create a group from their campus and travel together to this program. They will enjoy the city more than they would by themselves, they could help each other practice Spanish, and they can create a good community within the school that will be carried outside of the scheduled class time.